Neighbor took care of her mother after grandfather was taken by FBI

Neighbor took care of her mother after grandfather was taken by FBI Her grandfather was pressured to teach Japanese Camp stories impact on her career Japanese American identity Importance of overcoming Asian American stereotypes Challenges faced by female judges Becoming first AA State Bar President in California Receiving support from Sonia Sotomayer to run for the bench Advice to young lawyers

Transcripts available in the following languages:

  • en

My mom had the really interesting story which is her father, Koichi Suzuki was the principal of Nihon gakuen in San Francisco. So when Pearl Harbor came around they had him on their list, the FBI had him on the list and so they came and took him away. And my grandmother on that side had died and so it was just my mother who was, I believe, either 12 or 14 and her sister who was two years older than her and her brother who was four years younger and they were sitting in their house in San Francisco and not knowing what was happening with their father. They had no money, they had no food, and the FBI didn’t care that there was nobody there to take care of these three children. So, finally it got dark and they trucked downstairs because it was sorta a duplex, and they said to their families, their neighbors, who were also Japanese Americans, and said you know our dad, our dad got taken away. And they sorta took them in, and they took care of them.

So, and ultimately they also went to Tanforan where they lived like everybody else in a horse stall sleeping on bales of hay and then they were sent to Topaz.

Date: July 11, 2019
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Kayla Tanaka
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum; Japanese American Bar Association

FBI World War II

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